AP: Indonesia round nine qualifying notes

Trouble-free pole for Bamber. Citeureup Bogor, Indonesia -- Kiwi Earl Bamber (16/Team Meritus) took pole position for this afternoon's Round 9 of Formula BMW Asia after a trouble-free session which saw him equal series leader Sam...

Trouble-free pole for Bamber.

Citeureup Bogor, Indonesia -- Kiwi Earl Bamber (16/Team Meritus) took pole position for this afternoon's Round 9 of Formula BMW Asia after a trouble-free session which saw him equal series leader Sam Abay's (AUS/Team E-Rain) record of four poles so far this season. Abay was second quickest after the 30- minute session on Indonesia's 4km Sentul Circuit, followed by BMW Junior James Grunwell (THA/Team Meritus), who had improved dramatically since the practice sessions during when he claimed he had been trying too hard.

The second-fastest Junior, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) was less than thrilled with his performance, but already looking forward to this afternoon's 15-lap race, while team mate and local hope Zahir Ali was even less pleased with his 5th fastest time.

BMW Junior Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport), who lost out on some track time after missing a practice session due to stomach problems, was satisfied with his time, while fellow Junior Aaron Lim (MAS/Eurasia Motorsport) was in a newly rented car for the session and, understandably, the team is still feeling its way to the best set up.

The qualifying session was relatively incident free on the fast and sweeping track, which is a far cry from the tight and technical Goldenport Circuit in Beijing, scene of Rounds 6 to 8 last month, and is completely new to all the drivers. Commented Mohammad Al Baharna (BRN/Team E-Rain): "This circuit demands a lot of courage. You need to be brave to take the fast turns well and clock a quick lap."

For the first time ever, Formula BMW Asia is racing in the Southern Hemisphere this weekend and, being close to the equator, the drivers are having to contend with the hottest and most humid conditions experienced so far.

Looking to the future development of the sport here, twenty local go kart drivers have been invited by BMW Motorsport to visit the circuit where they will be given a pit tour and introduction to Formula BMW Asia. In addition, as the popularity of motorsport continues to increase in Indonesia, plans are afoot to conduct a driver search in conjunction with the local go kart club, with a view to the brightest talent taking part in the BMW Scholarship trials.

However, in the meantime, the focus is firmly on this year's field of talented youngsters as the 2006 season reaches the midway point and all the drivers have everything to race for.

Following the tragic consequences of the most recent Tsunami to hit Indonesia, the Formula BMW Asia teams and drivers are all keen assist the relief effort, and today announced that all winnings this weekend will be donated to charities involved in assisting those affected. BMW Indonesia is also contributing to the fund on behalf of the series.

-bmw.asia

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo , Aaron Lim , Zahir Ali , James Grunwell , Sam Abay , Earl Bamber , Dominic Storey